Normal Topic big question (Read 6629 times)
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big question
Apr 9th, 2001 at 7:49pm
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I recently applied for a major city police department.  I was ranked #2 and was set up to take my polygraph.  I went to the captain and asked to talk to him in confidence.  I told him that 3 years ago while I was in college, I had a buddy that talked me into doing steroids with him to get bigger.  He had bought some from his buddy and they were in the pill form.  I told the captain that I took these pills for a week, while doing research on steroids.  I found out about all of the bad things it does to your body and stopped using them.  My buddies kept doing them for a long time.  I asked the captain if this would disqualify me, because if it would, then I just wanted to drop my application and not even bother taking the polygraph because I didn't want to lie.  He told me he would check with his chief and call me on monday.  This concerned me so much, that I called up my old buddies from the other city where I used to live, and asked them about the steroids that we had bought a long time ago.  He told me that it had turned out that the guy wasn't selling steroids.  He was just telling people he had steroids and it wasn't steroids at all.  Well, this all made a lot of since, because none of us who took those pills saw any changes in our bodies while working out.  When I talked to the captain the next monday, he told me that I was disqualified.  Even after I told him the story of what had happened.  I guess he didn't believe me.  He told me any other place that calls him doing a background check he is going to tell them that I was disqualified for drug use.  Now, that is a bunch of bullshit because I came to him in confidence and told him there was no use in me continuing if that instance would disqualify me.  And it turns out, I didn't even do any drugs.  The captain said, you are just relying on your friend that says the other guy didn't really sell steroids.  I was so upset about this whole situation that I decided to drive 7 hours to this other city.  I found the guy that had sold us the supposed "steroids".  I explained my situation to him and he admitted that he had never sold steroids, he was selling androstenedione.  Which is legal.  Can this captain actually tell other police forces that I was disqualified for drug use.  Even though I never did drugs.  Our talk was supposed to be in confidence.  I pulled the guy asside and talked to him after the physical agility test to see if I should go any further in the testing procedure.  What a jackass. Other applicatons for other police forces ask you if you have applied for other police forces.  Should I put this department down?  Will they catch me if I don't?  I don't want this jackass captain telling lies about me!  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  
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Re: big question
Reply #1 - Apr 10th, 2001 at 6:54am
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Edward,

I am a former FBI Agent and currently an attorney.  I'll give you my thoughts on your situation.

As you now know, nothing is off the record or confidential.  Whatever you say to anyone in the application process, you should expect that statement to show up in your file and be disseminated.

I think you should continue pursuing your goal of becoming a police officer, if that is what you want. I strongly advise against concealing your previous application that went bad.  If it somehow comes out, at any point in your career, you are screwed.  You don't want to be constantly looking over your shoulder on that.

I suggest writing a one to two page account of what transpired.  It should include the fact that you erroneously believed you had briefly tried steroids, but subsequently learned that it was not steroids, but andro, which is perfectly legal.  It should include your interaction with the captain who disqualified you.  If possible, it's best to provide witness names, addresses, and telephone numbers, for corroboration.

Then, I would submit your application wherever you want.  If they ask for other PD's you applied to, you should list them.  You could either include your statement proactively, or provide it only in case your application gets stuck because of that captain.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, depending on circumstances.

Good luck.

Mark
  
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Re: big question
Reply #2 - Apr 10th, 2001 at 4:36pm
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I kind of had the same thing happen to me so I will tell you what I did and it worked.  Every few years the recruit academy will have new officers fill in the positions.  Re-apply then.  Act as if you are just applying for the position just like everyone else.  When you get to the 1st contact interview they will find your old file and say, "you were previously disqualified, what for?".  If they look they will know why but will ask you anyhow.  Tell them that you took Andro's and misunderstood that it was steroids and admitted to this.  Tell them you found out later that Andro's are legal, etc.  Then tell them you are prepared to take the polygraph to prove what you are saying is true (admit that you believe in the thing 100%).

This should clear everything up just like in my case.  This might work if you try it now but it might not because the Captain doesn't want to look like he's flip-flopping.  If you choose this route, be prepared to answer a lot of questions about drug use on the polygraph exam.  Good Luck and stay persistent, police departments like this because it shows your dedication.
  

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods" &&&&-Albert Einstein &&
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Re: big question
Reply #3 - Apr 11th, 2001 at 5:54am
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Just a comment here.. What happened to you was the same thing as me, sort of. You told the absolute truth, and in a certain sense, more than you needed to because your use of this substance was probably untraceable. And for your blatant honnesty, you get shafted, instead of getting put on the force ASAP which you should since we need honnest cops.

I was branded a liar during a polygraph regarding drug use. I smoked marijuana once, and they wouldn't believe me, accusing me of more drug use. I never should have mentioned it in the first place. That line from that movie with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson comes to mind, where Jack Nicholson shouts in court: "You can't handle the truth!". Polygraph examiners need to hear it.
  
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Re: big question
Reply #4 - Apr 17th, 2001 at 8:45am
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Well thanks for all of the responses.  It looks as if I will not be recieving any type of police job in the area.  This guy has labeled me as a major drug user.  I went and talked to this captain a couple of days ago, and the guy went crazy.  I have never seen anyone act like this before in my life.  I guess he was upset that I questioned him.  He told me I was a liar.  He also said that I am the scum of the earth, I make him sick to his stomach, he hopes I never get a fu**ing job, and if it is up to him I will not ever get hired on with any police force.  (All of this was said while he was beating the hell out of his desk and throwing things across the room.)  And to tell you the truth I never did anything to provoke him.  I was calm, curtious, and very polite.  The only thing I asked him was why he told me that on my file it would say "Didn't finish the testing procedure" and instead it says, "Disqualified for illegal drug use."  I really believe that this captain was trying to get me to fight him so that he could throw me in jail.  He got all in my face and definately tested me to my limits.  I stayed calm and just told him "I'm sorry you feel that way."  And walked out. Oh well, I guess my hopes of being a police officer are gone.  I guess it is time to use that college degree to do something else.  Again, thanks for the comments.  And if anyone ever decides to go try to be a police officer at Mesquite.  Think again.  At least if captain Oleish hasn't died of a heart attack yet.
  
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Re: big question
Reply #5 - Apr 18th, 2001 at 3:10am
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Edward,

Don't give in to the Captains childish tirade. You still have an appeals process to go through. While this might be futile, it can help change the way your DQ looks if you decide to apply elsewhere.

I don't know where you live,I am going to guess Texas, but in most cases the appeal can get you three things, reinstatement, a new polygraph, or an official withdrawl.

Don't give up on one bad experience with a Captain who really can't hurt you because he will never see you again nor if you apply elsewhere will he be the contact for other agencies. That work is left for the background investigators.

  
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Re: big question
Reply #6 - Jun 28th, 2001 at 10:26pm
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Edward,

As the recruiter for the Texarkana, Texas Police Department, I am confident, based on what you have written here, that the problem/situation you had with Mesquite would not eliminate you from our hiring process.  There would be questions certainly, but as the attorney in a previous reply mentioned, if you submitted a complete written explanation of the circumstances you should have no problems. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact me via email. Our hiring system is fair. Yes, we do use polygraph in the process, but our approach uses common sense as well.
  
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Re: big question
Reply #7 - Jun 28th, 2001 at 10:33pm
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Edward,

Sorry, thought my email address was recorded, but it was not. Heminger@txkusa.org
  
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Re: big question
Reply #8 - Jul 9th, 2001 at 11:55am
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I am sorry to hear about what happened to you.  However it is definitely not the end of the world, most Police departments don't work "together" often times my experience has been that they down right dislike each other, and quite frankly even if you did apply somewhere else I doubt that they could get their hands on any paperwork you turned in.  It also seems to me that you never signed anything saying you used steroids, that you merely spoke of it with this man proves nothing. 

On another note I have a real hard time believing that any other Police department would even be able find out that you applied with that department unless of course you told them about it. There is no nation wide database of police applicants that they can access, the only way I can even think off that they can find out is if this department ran an FBI background (you would know because you would of had to fill out a card with your fingerprints on it) on you and the other department checks with the FBI to see who has run backgrounds on you.  I seriously doubt they even did that, a lot of departments that rely on Polygraphs usually do real shoddy background investigations as they expect the Poly to do all their work.
Then again all this does require you to lie, so ultimately the decision is up to you, I personally see it more as an ommision than a lie(it's not like you really broke the law or anything)

Good luck in whatever path you choose.
  

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams."&&
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Re: big question
Reply #9 - Jul 10th, 2001 at 7:59am
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dimas wrote on Jul 9th, 2001 at 11:55am:
I am sorry to hear about what happened to you.  However it is definitely not the end of the world, most Police departments don't work "together" often times my experience has been that they down right dislike each other, and quite frankly even if you did apply somewhere else I doubt that they could get their hands on any paperwork you turned in.

On another note I have a real hard time believing that any other Police department would even be able find out that you applied with that department unless of course you told them about it. There is no nation wide database of police applicants that they can access, the only way I can even think off that they can find out is if this department ran an FBI background (you would know because you would of had to fill out a card with your fingerprints on it) on you and the other department checks with the FBI to see who has run backgrounds on you.  I seriously doubt they even did that, a lot of departments that rely on Polygraphs usually do real shoddy background investigations as they expect the Poly to do all their work.
Then again all this does require you to lie, so ultimately the decision is up to you, I personally see it more as an ommision than a lie(it's not like you really broke the law or anything)


Dimas,

I would hope that you are correct here but I have my doubts. Many PD's in California keep old background material in active files for at least 1 year.

I was labeled "deceptive" in a poly for one dept. and 6 months later applied to another dept. During my pre- background interview the detectives were very cordial discussing my background "jacket", and told me that they had read my "jacket" from the other PD and told me that it was too soon since the "deceptive" poly for them to continue backgrounding me. The only thing I listed in my information was that I was not "selected" during the background process.  They disclosed the poly info, I would tell them if they asked.

In the second statement, most PD's will run a fingerprint check to see who has been checking on you. Now the question here is, how long do those records exist?  I agree that most backgrounds are shabbily done because of the poly, which is used to weed out "bad" candidates.

However, being discreet in handing out information truthfully is better than witholding it and being discovered.


Fred F.  Wink
« Last Edit: Jul 11th, 2001 at 4:15am by Fred F. »  
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Re: big question
Reply #10 - Jul 11th, 2001 at 8:41am
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I realize that some departments may offer themselves a hand, an example being is a background examiner contacting an agency for which you applied with before and asking to see your file.  However the only reason this background investigator know about you applying at this agency is because you told him so!  I really do think we give our law enforcement agencies too much credit in believing they can find out all these things about us, heck they have a hard enough time catching felons (ever wonder why we need americas most wanted on TV to catch these guys? or how many of us have heard the one about the cop stopping the criminal, running his license and then letting him go because nothing comes up only to find out at a later date that he was a murderer wanted in 3 different states?) yet we somehow think that an overburdened background investigator is somehow going to find out every where we have applied.
My current departments policy is to not give out any of this info to anyone! the only way they will reveal it is if a Judge court orders them to, I have seen Federal Investigators doing backgrounds come in and ask for it only to be denied.


Most Departments seem to keep applicants on file for at least a year( as it seems that most of them have that "apply in a year policy if you don't make it through  the process the first time" ) but it ultimately comes down to the departments policies.
As far as the Fingerprint checks being kept on file, I really don't know for how long they are kept or if they even are.   Most departments also do an NCIC check and I really can't tell you if those are kept on file or not.

I truly do believe in being 100% honest with wahtever department a person applies with ( the reason most of us want to be in Law Enforcement is because we have a higher degree of Integrity and hold ourselves up to higher standards than most others in society) and I realize most of us probably feel like crap when we lie or are less than honest.  The only thing that really bothers me is that a department disqualify a perfectly qualified candidate based on the results of a Polygraph that took part of another departments background without even giving him a fair chance at the hiring process with them first.  I really wouldn't be able to blame a candidate for ommiting his disheartening experience with the other department if he knew his revealing it would automatically disqualify him from being able to get the job he has always wanted to do.
  

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams."&&
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Re: big question
Reply #11 - Dec 31st, 2001 at 6:28pm
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This reply is to a very old post but: I applied at a metro police department and was disqualified during the background process.  I had been very candid admitting to using marijuana less than ten times and using steroids for two months, all of which had occurred in college at or before age 21.  By the time I finished college and applied to the dept I was 25.  

Here's where I got screwed.  I thought of the background process as a formality, aside from the drug use I had nothing to fear right?  Wrong.  When I handed in the background packet I had three sections that I had not completed and I told the BI about it and asked if I could turn it in later, all completed, I had to do more research to find some information about my previous contacts with LE agencies, traffic infractions, and vehicle reg.  (I know I should have had the damn thing done, but)  Anyway, the BI says don't worry about it, we'll find that information out.  So I handed it to him with those sections left blank.  

Two days later in the Background interview with the same BI, he starts grilling me about why did I leave those sections blank when I did have previous contacts with LE agencies and traffic violations.  I couldn't believe it.  I stamerred, "Don't you remember when I handed this to you?"  He ignored me and then grilled me on the drug use and basically it was a hostile interrogation with me getting dragged over the coals.  It appears I was disqualified for a combo of the drug use and my "omitting information", they didn't say why for sure.  

Anyway I thought this BI was a real bastard and couldn't believe he had purposely screwed me.  I found out later that the guy is just kind of a poor investigator, he doesn't listen very well, he writes down the wrong information...etc.  The reason I'm writing this is to make sure no one else turns in anything without making sure ALL the requested information is filled in completely and accurately.  Don't be an idiot, like I was, and asume the BI is competent or even honest.  I eventually got on with a small dept. but I know damn well that my app is forever tainted with the failing of that metro PD's background.  

I am a cop and I like to think of my integrity as of the highest caliber but sometimes I wonder if I was a fool to volunteer the drug use info about myself.  There was no chance anyone could have found it but I thought honesty was the best.  Everyone has to decide on that one on their own I guess.   Tongue    
« Last Edit: Dec 31st, 2001 at 7:05pm by Administrator »  
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Re: big question
Reply #12 - Dec 31st, 2001 at 7:07pm
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"Cop,"

Your post was edited to add spaces between paragraphs to make for easier reading. No changes to its content were made.
  

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